Section 1: Web Site Functionality
SoGoTrade offers simple and straightforward navigation. You won't find a lot of flash, but you can quickly become familiar with the site and all of the features, everything is very well organized. SoGoTrade is another site that spends a lot of time on look and feel, you get a consistent theme, clean layout and very few distractions. The only unusual and somewhat annoying navigation problem you may run into is the occasional broken or glitchy link that requires a double-click.
SoGoTrade has only been around since 2006 and they are experiencing growing pains. Browsers may experience lag during the busiest hours of the day depending on connection speed and how many people are hitting the site.
In general, SoGoTrade is very dependable, you don't have to worry about long periods of service outage or frequent site crashes. Daytraders and Option Traders may occasionally get frustrated by lag or slow page updates, but SoGoTrade can be counted on to meet the needs of the average investor that doesn't mind an intraday site hiccup now and then.
Very little available, SoGoTrade doesn't offer a lot of amenities or perks. However, they are currently revamping the site and building new features so it will be exciting to see what they've rolled out when we do our next discount brokerage survey in December.
We did find out one interesting bit of info. We were originally under the impression that SoGoTrade is able to offer the lowest commissions in the industry because they are a stripped down site. It turns out that trading costs are low because they are a self clearing broker/dealer and this means their execution costs are a small fraction of the cost for other brokerages who must use external clearing houses. If that means they can eventually offer a full suite of investing products and develop the kinds of tools and amenities offered by other major brokerages at their current pricing structure, SoGoTrade may be tomorrow's 900 pound gorilla.
This is a category where SogoTrade excels as a result of collaboration with their parent company, Genesis Securities. Genesis provides execution, data, and clearing solutions to an elite roster of institutional investors. They account for 2-4% of the NASDAQ's total daily trading volume. Since Genesis manages SogoTrade's executions, clients can always expect fast and accurate trade execution.
Section 2: Trading Costs and Fees
Intuitive Commission Structure?
Yes, very straightforward. This is the lowest priced online brokerage for Stock trading but they don't yet offer Options, Mutual Funds, Treasuries or Bonds.
Minimum to Open an Account
$500 minimum to open a new account.
Internet Trades = $3.00 per trade or $1.50 per trade if you pay $10.00 per month for a premium membership.
Interactive Voice System = Not available.
Broker Assisted = $27
For trades above 5,000 shares, the commission cost is the regular commission + $0.0004 per share.
Internet Trades = Not available.
Interactive Voice System = Not available.
Broker Assisted = Not available.
No-Load No-Fee Funds = Not available.
No-Load Funds = Not available.
Load and Fee Funds = Not available.
Treasuries & Bonds
Treasuries at auction = Not available.
Bonds and CDs = Not available.
Rates & Fees
Margin Interest Rates:
LOAN BALANCE INTEREST RATE
$0.01 - $49,999.99 base rate(3.50%) plus 2.25% = 5.75%
$50,000.00 - $99,999.99 base rate(3.50%) plus 1.25% = 4.75%
$100,000.00 - $149,999.99 base rate(3.50%) plus 1.00% = 4.50%
$150,000.00 - $249,999.99 base rate(3.50%) plus 1.00% = 4.50%
$250,000.00 - $499,999.99 base rate(3.50%) plus 0.75% = 4.25%
$500,000.00 - $999,999.99 base rate(3.50%) plus 0.50% = 4.00%
$1,000,000.00 and above base rate(3.50%) = 3.50%
Interest Paid on Cash (Sweep):
FREE CASH BALANCE INTEREST RATE
$0.01 - 2,499.99 0.10%
$2,500 - 9,999.99 0.50%
$10,000.00 - 49,999.99 0.75%
$50,000.00 - 99,999.99 1.00%
$100,000.00 - 249,999.99 1.25%
$250,000.00 - 499,999.99 1.50%
$500,000.00 - $999,999.99 1.75%
$1,000,000.00 and Greater 1.75%
Checkbook: Checking not available.
Paper Statements: $5.00
Electronic Statement: Free
Wires: $20 Domestic, $40 International
Section 3: Customer Service Rank - #6
SoGoTrade support reps are helpful and friendly but the hours are limited to 8AM-7:30PM EST. Since many online traders work all day and then do their research and portfolio management in the evenings, the limited support hours will be a drawback. However, for investors that are able to call during regular business hours, customer service is exceptional. Wait times are short and phone reps are courteous and knowledgeable.
SoGoTrade does offer live chat but, like phone support, the hours are limited. They have to be creative in order to compensate for the lack of live support and their FAQs section certainly shines, it is one of the best in the industry. In addition to the normal Q&A section, you will also find trade and funding walkthroughs, site tours, and feature explanations. Since investors are basically on their own from 7:30PM - 8AM the next morning, a strong FAQs section is critical and SoGoTrade does at least overdeliver in this area.
Advanced Support (Options, Funds, Bonds, etc.)
SoGoTrade doesn't currently offer Mutual Funds, Options, Bonds or Treasuries, so they have little need of specialists or financial advisors. The regular reps are well trained and can quickly answer any basic question but you won't be able to get portfolio guidance or help with more advanced trading topics.
Section 4: Research Tools & Investing Information
SoGoTrade competes on price, they currently only offer basic tools available at any of the free investing websites. However, they are in the process of developing ETF, Fund, and Stock Screeners. They also plan to introduce a new trading platform, Laser, that will offer Level II quotes and customization options but there is no rollout date listed for any of these enhancements.
Level II Quotes & Streaming Data
Only streaming quotes are available right now but level II quotes will be offered whenever the new Laser trading platform is released.
SogoTrade: This is the web-based platform offered for free to all new clients. Clients that choose this platform will not have access to any customization options, what you see is what you get. This platform is ideal for beginners or for investors that have their own research and analysis resources and just need a cheap and easy way to trade stocks.
SogoElite: This is the desktop platform offered for free to all new clients. Every product and research tool available at SoGoTrade is available to SoGoElite users. Elite has a few customization options and access to extended hours trading. Like the web based platform, SoGoElite is ideal for beginners or for investors that have their own research and analysis resources and just need a cheap and easy way to trade stocks.
Laser(coming soon): Laser will offer level 2 quotes, complete customization, and advanced charting and technical analysis tools. The preview looks pretty slick, but it will not bring in enough new features to act as a stand-alone, users will still need external research and analysis tools to make trading decisions.
Free DRIP Program
This is a very nice feature. Many brokers offer DRIP programs, which simply means they will reinvest your dividend payouts back into the stock or fund that paid them. There is usually some transaction fee involved at other brokers, but SoGoTrade offers this service free of charge.
The DRIP program is SoGoTrade's newest feature. We thought it was a good sign that they rolled this out faster than the screening tools or new Laser trading platform, it shows that they are still focused on their strategy to be the low cost leader. SoGoTrade may not offer much in the way of research and analysis, but for those stock traders that get 3rd party investment advice or have their own investing research tools, there is no better (or cheaper) place to trade.
Section 5: Perks
This service is not unique to SoGoTrade, but they definitely offer it much cheaper than anyone else. Fractional Share trading is another great example of SoGoTrade delivering on their strategy. This is an attractive feature for investors with small portfolios and for dollar cost averagers.
Fractional traders can invest small amounts of money at SoGoTrade without giving up a lot of their profit in transaction fees. This also allows them to buy whatever stock they want rather than only ones with lower share prices. Want to invest $200 in Berkshire Hathaway which goes for $133,600 per share? No problem, SoGoTrade can do it, you'll own 0.0015 shares which is more than most non-fractional traders will ever be able to buy.
Section 6: Product Offerings
Section 7: Security
Yes. SIPC protects securities in your account up to $500,000.
Firewall Secured and Fraud Protection
Yes. All of the major sites have dependable security. They can't afford to make mistakes, they wouldn't survive a year if they gained a reputation for mishandling money or for lax security.